At a loss for what to write, I once again went to one of my favorite books, Michael Scriven’s Evaluation Thesaurus . This time when I opened the volume randomly, I came upon the entry for meta-evaluation. This is a worthy topic, one that isn’t addressed often. So this week, I’ll talk about meta-evaluation and quote Scriven as I do.
First, what is meta-evaluation? This is an evaluation approach which is the evaluation of evaluations (and “indirectly, the evaluation of evaluators”). Scriven suggests the application of an evaluation-specific checklist or a Key Evaluation Checklist (KEC) (p. 228). Although this approach can be used to evaluate one’s own work, the results are typically unreliable which implies (if one can afford it) to use an independent evaluator to conduct a meta-evaluation of your evaluations.
Then, Scriven goes on to say the following key points:
- Meta-evaluation is the professional imperative of evaluation;
- Meta-evaluation can be done formatively or summatively or both; and
- Use the KEC to generate a new evaluation OR apply the checklist to the original evaluation as a product.
He lists the parts a KEC involved in a meta evaluation; this process includes 13 steps (pp. 230-231).
He gives the following reference:
Stufflebeam, D. (1981). Meta-evaluation: Concepts, standards, and uses. In R. Berk (Ed.), Educational evaluation methodology: The state of the art. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins.